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FIR-2.13 - Storage and Laundry Rooms - Separation from Living Spaces

STORAGE AND LAUNDRY ROOMS - SEPARATION FROM LIVING SPACES IN EXISTING RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS
Administrative Rule Adopted by Portland Fire & Rescue Pursuant to Rule-Making Authority
ARB-FIR-2.13

PURPOSE:
To establish uniform guidelines for regulating basements, laundry rooms and storage rooms in existing multi-family residential structures.

SCOPE:
This policy applies to all multi-family residential occupancies in which Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) has fire prevention authority.

BACKGROUND:
The first Uniform Building Code in the City of Portland was the 1970 edition adopted on September 7, 1972. Prior to that date, the City used it’s own code, the Building Ordinances of the City of Portland. Changes in code regulations have resulted in the presence of basement, storage and laundry areas that do not meet current code-requirements. Statistical review of fire response information in 2002 indicated a low dollar loss ratio.

REFERENCES:
1907-1965 Building Ordinances of the City of Portland; 1970 Portland Building Code; 1973 to present Oregon Structural Specialty Code.
  • Building Ordinances of the City of Portland, Adopted 9-12-57:
    Requires usable space under the first floor to be protected on the side of the usable space as required for one-hour fire-resistive occupancy separation.
  • 1970 Uniform Building Code, Adopted 9-7-72 [3302 (a)2.]:
    Requires all basements used for other than service of the building shall have not less than two exits. Prior to this, occupant loads over 10 in residential buildings required two exits (using Occupant Load factors of 200 for laundry and 300 for residential and storage).
  • 1982 Uniform Building Code [1202(b)]:
    Requires storage or laundry rooms within Group R, Division 1 Occupancies that are used in common by tenants to be separated from the rest of the building by not less than one-hour fire-resistive occupancy separation.

PROCEDURES:
I.LAUNDRY AND STORAGE ROOMS
Existing laundry and storage rooms used in common by tenants and which have been established prior to the adoption of the 1982 Uniform Building Code, may be maintained to existing conditions provided electrical and mechanical installations are in compliance with code.
Existing laundry and storage rooms used in common by tenants and which have been established after the adoption of the 1982 Uniform Building Code require building permit approval.
  • If 1-hour construction is in place, allow continued use without a permit.
  • If 1-hour construction is NOT in place AND a distinct hazard exists, the inspector shall confer with their Senior Inspector. They shall review the situation, build a case, and establish specific requirements for the site.
Occupancy separations may be required if the Fire Marshal determines the existing conditions are unsafe.
 
II. BASEMENT EXITS
Usable basements in existing Group R, Division 1 Occupancies, built prior to the 9-7-72 adoption of the 1970 Portland Building Code, require at least two exits when the occupant load exceeds 10.
Usable basements in existing Group R, Division 1 Occupancies, built after the adoption of the 1970 Portland Building Code, require at least two exits.
Exception: basements used exclusively for the service of the building; or, where two or more dwelling units are located in a basement and the total occupant load served by the exit does not exceed 10 (using Occupant Load factors of 200 for residential and laundry and 300 for storage).
Additional exits may be required if the Fire Marshal determines the exiting is inadequate.
 
III. BASEMENT SEPARATION
Existing basements in Group R, Division 1 Occupancies, constructed after September 1957, require basements to be separated per Uniform Building Code requirements for one-hour occupancy separation, unless the entire basement is protected by an automatic sprinkler system, or deemed to be impractical by the Fire Marshal.
 
IV. APPEALS
Appeals of these requirements are to be resolved through the Office of Planning and Development Review (OPDR) as a building appeal.



HISTORY
 
Filed for inclusion in PPD June 13, 2003.
Originally adopted by Fire Marshal as Fire Prevention Division Policy Manual Document B-13, effective July 31, 2002.